New York, NY – As workers’ rights continue to erode throughout New York City and the country, the New York City & Vicinity District Council of Carpenters (NYCDCC) will flex its muscle via its new hire, Kevin Elkins. The 30-year-old campaign veteran will head up the Carpenters’ new RISE program as the Director of Political Action.
Executive Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Geiger calls the 20,000-strong NYCDCC a force to be reckoned with that will now be even more politically engaged with the addition of Elkins.
“We are pulling out all the stops and making bold moves to elect labor-friendly candidates who support union priorities,” Geiger says. “Let his arrival be the first indication to everyone that the Carpenters Union is reenergized and prepared more than ever to strategically fight tooth and nail politically to make sure the city, its boroughs, and surrounding communities in the tri-state area are built union.”
Elkins says he is excited to join the fight for more secure benefits, jobs and pensions for NYCDCC members.
“All too often, politicians promise to do right by labor, but then forget about us when we need them the most,” says Elkins. “With Carpenters RISE we are going to change that dynamic once and for all, and ensure union carpenters are an even bigger force in city, state, and federal politics for years to come.”
Elkins is also very concerned about job site safety in the face of rising construction fatalities.
“Developers have been setting the agenda for how many administrations? What have we got from that?” he says. “For the third year in a row, construction deaths have been rising. It affects primarily people of color. We have an epidemic of wage theft. We have an income inequality crisis, affordability crisis and a homeless crisis. That is the result that is being exacerbated by developers. We’ve got to change that dynamic.”
When union workers are not in the fight to address workers’ rights, then there will be a void filled by those who do not have these workers best interests at heart, according to Elkins.
“This is one of the most consequential times for the labor movement and I wanted to bring my skillset to some of the hardest working and toughest fighters in the movement,” he says. “Under the leadership of Joe Geiger, he put forward a vision via the Carpenters RISE program to elevate the member engagement in our political process here in New York City, New York State and the country. So, my job is to execute this incredible plan that he put together.”
That plan includes a massive political education training program, education on voter registration and revamping NYCDCC’s entire political education system, according to Elkins.
“We are bringing all this to bare to City Hall to fight in this campaign cycle and then the next,” he says. “We are going to make our presence felt in a way that it hasn’t been in a long time.”
Politically engaged Carpenters are key to fighting for careers that change people’s lives, Elkins adds.
“We are going to make sure that the Carpenters are the vanguard of putting City Hall back on the side of working New Yorkers,” says Elkins. “We are playing for keeps!”